Thursday, January 13, 2022

Mental Flexibility

One of the main differences that I've seen between preppers and “normal” people is their level of mental flexibility. I don't mean the range of ideas that people consider; I mean the very concept that other ideas are possible.

“Normal” people are often stuck in a rut of some sort. They have a routine that varies only slightly from day to day, and if it varies beyond their comfort zone they react poorly. Panic, aggression, denial, and stasis (shutting down, not moving or acting at all) are common “normal” responses to any situation that violates their view of existence. The trope of a “Karen” flipping out over minor things that has become popular in recent years is a good example of how an inflexible mind reacts to change. Other examples include:

  • The route/road to work is closed due to weather, an accident, construction, etc. A “normie” will get frustrated, angry, or confused. This starts the day on a sour note that will color how they react to everything for hours.
  • One of the rugrats fell and scraped their knee. Panic ensues and the really clueless will call 911. The child learns that this is a “normal” reaction and will likely react the same way when they get older.
  • A button pops off of a shirt, a zipper breaks, or a pair of pants gets a hole in it. It's “normal” to toss it in the trash and buy a new one, while lamenting the poor quality (that they chose).
  • Violation of the “4 stupids” rules (being in a stupid place, with stupid people, at a stupid time of night, doing stupid things) causes bad things to happen. Normies will find someone to blame (denial) for the consequences of those bad things. Note that if you remove at least one of the “stupids”, things tend to work out. I've got plenty of good stories of doing things with 2-3 of them, but rarely has any activity with all 4 turned out well.
  • Job requirements change and you're expected to do something new/different. I've seen a lot of this lately due to economic and social changes and anger, denial, and stasis are very common reactions. My work varies with the seasons and I've seen people quit a job because they were told they couldn't sit around and drink coffee all day if there were no customers. The concept of doing anything beyond what they considered their job was so abhorrent that they quit rather than learn something new. “I haven't done that for the 15 years I've been here, why should I start now?” is a direct quote from a co-worker.

Preppers, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more flexible in their thinking. If something goes awry, they try to find ways to keep moving towards their goals. Surviving may be the main goal that we strive for, while being aware that life is temporary, but even shorter-term goals can be achieved despite hiccups of the universe if you keep looking for ways to make them happen. Examples:

  • Road blockages are just a good reason to explore new routes to work, or aren't a problem because you already have alternate routes planned. You might be a few minutes late, but the day isn't ruined.
  • Scraped knees, minor cuts and burns, and other minor medical issues are treated at home from the first aid kit or medicine cabinet. Children learn to take care of themselves and others rather than relying on “professionals” for everything.
  • Minor wardrobe malfunctions are a part of life and a needle and thread are not some kind of arcane magic. Repairing clothing saves money for use on other things. Buying good quality clothing is an investment because it lasts longer.
  • Situational awareness will prevent violating the 4 stupids rule because you'll be able to predict what can happen if you do. Thinking ahead is always a good thing and planning for the unexpected is even better.
  • Jobs are temporary in today's world. The days of having a career with one company that lasts 40 years are long gone, so we have to be willing to learn new skills and apply what we know in new ways. A varied set of skills will also leave you more options when you're looking for a better job. I have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with the additional testing to carry hazardous materials. I need this for some of the fertilizers and pesticides I work with, but our fuel department lost four drivers in less than a month so I'm filling in and delivering propane to customers' houses for a few weeks. After two days, the fuel manager offered me a permanent position with a roughly 20% raise in pay. I'm thinking about it, but it's a much more physically demanding job and I'm not a young man any more.

The old saying that “Proper prior planning prevents piss-poor performance” is the heart of prepping. Having what you need, whether it's supplies, knowledge, or tribe, makes responding to life's inevitable challenges a lot easier. We're here to help you with all three.

1 comment:

  1. From my personal FD experiences:

    1). "The route/road to work is closed due to weather, an accident, construction, etc. A “normie” will get frustrated, angry, or confused."

    It amazes me that when we have to close a road, people who have lived in the area for years, sometimes decades, do not know how to get around the closure without explicit directions. Or those from outside the area that don't listen to us and insist on using their GPS, ending up right back at my roadblock.

    2). "One of the rugrats fell and scraped their knee. Panic ensues and the really clueless will call 911."

    I actually heard such a call over our dispatch radio for another town. It went out as a bicycle accident which are usually serious when a call to 911 is made. When the ambulance crew signed on responding, dispatch gave them additional information that the child was wearing a helmet and was conscious and alert. When the unit arrived on scene, there was no transport because the child only bloodied up their knee and mom freaked out.


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